Downtown Alliance Launches Program To Help Storefronts Become COVID-Ready

The Downtown Alliance has launched an initiative with the retail and urban-design consultancy Streetsense to provide up to 25 small businesses the opportunity for one-on-one technical assistance to help them be COVID-ready and -compliant.  

The goal of these consultations is to assess operations and surface opportunities to better prepare businesses for the ongoing crisis. Streetsense has decades of first-hand operations experience across a variety of disciplines and industries, including research and analysis, hospitality, branding and marketing and interior design. Consultations will provide the following: 

—Individual 45- to 60-minute work sessions with retail or restaurant owners

—A strategic guide for “pandemic readiness” 

—Links to pandemic signage templates and the capital planning tool (for restaurants and bars only)  

Also included in Streetsense’s scope of services to the district are two Readiness Guides, one specific to restaurants and bars and the other for retailers. The guides will be accompanied by two, 60-minute webinars, available to all Lower Manhattan businesses. 

Acceptance into the program will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. 

To apply for the technical-assistance program you must be a small business located within the boundaries of the Lower Manhattan Business Improvement District (see below) in New York City. A small business is defined as one that employs fewer than 30 full-time-equivalent employees as of March 1, 2020 and has a gross annual revenue of less than $3 million for the applicant’s most recent tax year. (This excludes national chains, franchises and businesses that have more than five locations in New York City.) To be an eligible essential small business, you must have a current lease, or an option to renew, for a ground-floor storefront business within the Lower Manhattan Business Improvement District through December 31, 2020. 

This application page will go live Monday, August 10, at 9a. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until 25 eligible businesses have been accepted. Consultations with Streetsense will take place between August and October 2020.

The Downtown Alliance will publish Streetsense’s Pandemic Survival Toolkits online on August 14. A webinar to discuss the restaurant and bar tool kit will be live Thursday, August 20, followed by the retail webinar on Friday August 21.

This week the Alliance also launched a separate initiative to help restaurants make delivery and takeout more profitable.

Lower Manhattan Business Improvement District boundaries: 

photo: iStock